Mike Mackenzie in selection to represent Argyll and Bute in 2011 Scottish Elections

Mike Mackenzie, the SNP candidate for Argyll and Bute in the recent 2010 General Election – and who, in a typically thoughtful and active campaign, put 27.5% on his party’s vote in its fourth place finish, is in the lists for selection to represent his party in the Scottish Election 2011.

In addition to his performance in the Westminster campaign, Mike Mackenzie knows his party’s grass roots in the constituency very well. He has been, for the past five years, its Constituency Association Organiser and Vice Convenor.

During this period and with the work he did in these roles and on the ground campaigning, the SNP took Argyll in the Scottish Elections of 2007. There, Jim Mather – the most effective representative in any sphere that Argyll has had – was elected to represent the area, defeating sitting tenant, George Lyon of the Liberal Democrats.

While the majority of 815 would not have been discouraging, it is telling that Mr Lyon did not feel that there was much point in hanging around to try to get his party back into a positin to represent Argyll at Holyrood. He secured the Lib Dem party’s backing to be its certain nomination to the European Parliament in the last Euro Elections and, while it won only one seat, that was all Mr Lyon needed and he is now in Brussels.

In his dedicated groundwork for his party and in his campaign as its Westminster candidate, Mike Mackenzie has an understanding of both his party and its reception by the wider electorate.

In the run up to that campaign, Mr Mackenzie and Councillor Gary Mulvaney wrote a series of articles for us, setting out their thinking on a set of common topics we asked them to address. We completed the series with a profile of each man. Here is the link to the profile on Mike Mackenzie which has his six position statements linked from it. (Remember that while some of these are general issues, some relate to issues reserved to Westminster, since this exercise was part of the our contribution to the context of the 2010 General Election.)

We understand that the candidates Mr Mackenzie will face in a tough selection contest to be the  SNP’s candidate to represent Argyll and Bute in the 2010 Scottish Elections are: Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, Michael Russell,; Councillor John Semple; and Mary Mackay.

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Related Articles & Comments

  • The devil or the deep blue sea

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    kintyre1 July 22, 2010 7:52 pm Reply
  • I think that Mr MacKenzie will make a fantastic MSP for Argyll and Bute. He has worked relentlessly over the last 3 years across the constituency, with Jim Mather, and is a determined, committed and passionate character who will always have Argyll in the forefront of his mind and actions. I wish him every success in his forthcoming selection process and subsequently, his election to MSP. Argyll and Bute will be a better place with Mike MacKenzie as its MSP.

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    islandpolitics July 22, 2010 8:28 pm Reply
  • I believe the above to be the sentiment of very many Argyll and Bute SNP members.

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    Dave McEwan Hill July 22, 2010 11:11 pm Reply
  • As a (not) impartial observer of this coming contest I find this very hard to call. Alison Hay is well known around this area but has little profile furth of here. I have to say that Tories who have occassionally tactically voted LibDem in this area in the past (and I include myself in that number on one particular contest) may do so but that will be cancelled out by the loss of support of a large proportion of non aligned voters who have voted LibDem as an anti-Tory statement. Both the Tory hopefuls would have been acceptable to me but are a bit long in the tooth which is indicative of our malaise.
    I must state categorically that I am absolutely appalled by David Cameron’s little double act in America over Al Megrahi. Regardless of what party runs the Scottish Parliament his remarks were a slap in the face to Scotland in front of the whole world.
    I have no knowledge of the Labour candidate but Labour would be unwise indeed to imagine it will achieve anything like the preposterous vote it got at the recent election (with a candidate who hardly campaigned at all as far as I could see).
    I’m sure the SNP very much regret the retiring of the highly respected Jim Mather. My reading is that he would probably have held on. His non partisan demeanour is particularly suited to Argyll and Bute. Whoever the SNP choose has a hard act to follow but I think things may be moving in the SNP’s way again, more by problems being faced by all the others rather than any eye-catching initiative’s by “wee Eck’s” team.
    Who knows where we will be in economic terms next year.

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    kilmory125 July 23, 2010 10:55 am Reply
  • kilmory125

    I think you could benefit from a visit from our “hit team”. We are always happy to take on board thoughtful opponents. “Conversion” is our main objective.

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    Dave McEwan Hill July 23, 2010 11:06 am Reply
  • As an SNP member I will be voting for Mike MacKenzie, not just because I think he is the best candidate to retain the Argyll and Bute Holyrood seat for SNP but because as a neighbour of his on Easdale Island over the last few years I perhaps know him better than most people. No one has done more valuable work over many years for this community than Mike. His knowledge of communities and how to re-invigorate them is second to none, covering both the practice and the theory of community development and I well understand his wish to carry out this work in the wider arena of Argyll and Bute.

    If I have a problem that seems insurmountable Mike MacKenzie is the person that I know I can turn to for advice and he always has a practical and effective solution. If you are down on your luck or if your back is to the wall Mike is the person you want in your corner and for this reason alone he will make an outstanding MSP.

    As I write this the men who work for Mike in his building business are busy helping with the erection of new playground equipment that our community was lucky enough to get funding for. Each year his company do a substantial amount of work free of charge for the community. I get fed up sometimes with politicians who are all talk. It’s really time we had someone who practices what he preaches.

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    Keren Cafferty July 23, 2010 1:18 pm Reply
  • Dave McEwan Hill

    Maybe twenty years ago I would have enjoyed a bit of jousting. Slippers and the fireside it is for me now.

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    kilmory125 July 23, 2010 3:58 pm Reply
  • If Mike MacKenzie wants anything to fix Ferries and Forestry spring to mind otherwise I think the “dreaded Tories” have a pretty good chance here. I get the feeling from some posts and a couple of SNP members I know that Mike MacKenzie is is held in high regard around here.
    That won’t survive if he doesn’t get a sensible commitment on the Dunoon Ferry and some sensible positions on the Forestry issue.

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    kilmory125 July 23, 2010 4:06 pm Reply
  • I agree Mike Mackenzie is a good man, no question, however I am absolutely convinced that Michael Russell is far better placed to retain this seat. I ‘know’ this to be the view of a more than considerible number of members in Argyll and Bute. Interestingly I more than recognise the syntax of Kilmory 125, I am almost certain I know who this is, but dont worry I wont give up your alias!

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    Ron Simon July 23, 2010 5:25 pm Reply
  • Kilmory 125

    Surely you are not that old!

    I would be interested to learn of any “sensible” propositions from any of the unionist parties about the future of forestry or ferries. The present Scottish Government has no powers to borrow money to invest in those operations and forestry is presently going nowhere- the situation that it has been in for generations. The LibDems supported a bill to privatise forestry when they were in coaltion with Labour in Holyrood but they were vehemently opposed to suggestions that finance for planting and development might be raised with a leasing proposal just over a year ago. You can always tell when the Libdems are serios about something -they organise a petition. This from the same party who now, in coaltion with the other half at Westminster are proposing to privatise to Royal Mail.

    The SNP are clearly struggling to provide ferry alternatives in a climate of financial constraint that has been engineered by others but their record is certainly no worse than that of any any of their predecessors.

    I was recenty visiting a friend in Oslo and I remarked on the very high cost of living there. She agreed but pointed out that this was matched by an exceptionally high standard of living with excellent social and transport services and a burgeoning Oil Fund that had recently been used to pay off the consequences of the recent financial crisis and was still there as a healthy hedge against the future. “Vistors always complain about our costs. We can afford our high cost of living and we will have no cuts,” she said. “You should be able to work it out! We discovered oil in the North Sea.”

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    Ken MacColl July 23, 2010 5:39 pm Reply
  • There is gathering momentum around the probable innocence of Al Megrahi and this may play a growing part in the political landscape over the next few months. I suspect David Cameron’s very ill-advised and in fact disgusting behaviour in US has lost the Tories support in Scotland.
    I can only see accelerating decline for them here. As DC showed English Tories have absolutely no understanding of Scotland and the Scottish Tories who meekly sit taking their line from London all the time deserve to be exactly in the position they now find themselves.

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    Dave McEwan Hill July 23, 2010 5:54 pm Reply
  • I thought Mike Russell would make mincemeat of Mackenzie after all he is a Minister but at the hustings I attended Mackenzie showed what he was made of. You could almost see Mike Russell wincing as Mackenzie hammered home point after point. Russell was obviously floundering on local issues and trying to cover this up with what in my opinion was articulate woffle.
    Mackenzie seems to have gained a lot in confidence and he is razor sharp on local issues and in tune with local feelings. Mike Russell bungled the forestry proposals and he seems to have got the wrong end of the stick with a lot of important local issues. I’m not sure who has been giving him information but he seems to have got things seriously wrong.

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    Anonymous July 23, 2010 6:31 pm Reply
  • We need a man like Mr Mackenzie with no airs and graces who will stick up for ordinary people. He came to my door with his leaflet a few months ago and I had a problem and right away he told me what to do to fix it. I had been on to our MP and he wrote letters for me but that was useless. Thanks to Mr Mackenzie the problem is solved. I’m sick of politicians and nothing is getting better. Everything just gets worse like the roads and no one makes any difference. I have never voted snp but Im going to vote for Mr Mackenzie.

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    John McDonald July 23, 2010 6:49 pm Reply
  • Mr Mackenzie has stood for Argyll & Bute council several times , has stood for Westminster , and now wants on to the gravy train of the Scottish parliament , but cannot even win over high profile councillors in his own party to support him . Stick in at your business Mike and forget the lost cause which is the SNP .

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    kintyre1 July 23, 2010 7:56 pm Reply
  • I think you are mixing up the Scottish Parliament with the mother of all parliaments’ gravy train at Westminster

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    Dave McEwan Hill July 23, 2010 9:47 pm Reply
  • Actually it is fairly common for candidates tostand several times before being elected – Ray Michie, Jim Mather spring to mind – so I have no idea what point you are making.
    For general information Cllr Simon has declared for Michael Russell and Cllr Semple has declared for Mike MacKenzie . I know several other councillors who are supporting Mike MacKenzie and I dare say some are supporting Michael Russell. They have no intention of publicly declaring their chosen candidate in what is a secret ballot.

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    Dave McEwan Hill July 23, 2010 11:56 pm Reply
  • ‘The SNP are clearly struggling to provide ferry alternatives in a climate of financial constraint that has been engineered by others but their record is certainly no worse than that of any any of their predecessors.’
    Sorry, Ken, that’s not good enough.
    There was a specific promise in Jim Mather’s manifesto to provide a town centre to town centre passenger/vehicle service between Dunoon and Gourock; it should also be borne in mind that the government had plenty of time to act on that promise before the onset of the financial crisis.
    On this issue the transport minister has proved to be nothing better than a professional procrasinator, and Jim’s failure to deliver on his promise does him no credit.
    It was a major plank in his election platform and unless something positive happens pretty quickly then the SNP’s vote in South Cowal will plummet.
    Of course his predecessor’s record was absymal – that was why the people of Dunoon put their trust in him.
    The unfortunate aspect of all this is that the Al Megrahi issue has revealed double standards on the part of the unionists on both sides of the border which are absolutely eye-watering, and I suspect that Macaskill’s refusal to present himself like a naughty schoolboy before a group of witch-hunting US senators will be seen in the proper light -that of preserving the dignity of Scotland – and certainly not that of a subservient ‘junior partner’.
    Re Kintyre1’s assertion that the SNP is a lost cause; perhaps he would care to expand on this and tell us which party isn’t, and why?
    Just a wee aside – am I the only one who’s noticed Alan Reid’s uncharactistic silence since the general election?

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    bill jardine July 24, 2010 1:05 pm Reply
  • Sorry – that should have been ‘uncharacteristic’ – spellchecker stuttered…

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    bill jardine July 24, 2010 1:53 pm Reply
  • For Bill Jardine

    Alan Reid has become the invisible man since the general election, most people wouldnt notice, although readers of the Dunoon Observer are enjoying the respite for the time being. The truth is perhaps he is keeping his head down until he can come to terms with the actions of his party in London Government who are delivering the exact opposite from the position he was elected on. Privatising the Royal Mail is one particular issue which may prove awkward for him when it comes to his annual summer posing outside the Post Offices of Argyll and Bute. I cant wait to see how he defends the Forest leasing scheme in England if the coalition do decide to adopt it.

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    Ron Simon July 24, 2010 4:14 pm Reply
  • I have a lovely photograph of Alan standing outside a Post Office which has a “Closed” sign behind him in its window.
    It shall be deployed in due course.
    As will the photograph with the “Vacuum here” sign alongside the sign for his office in Dunoon.

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    Dave McEwan Hill July 24, 2010 7:34 pm Reply
  • I have no problem with people gaining experience as councillors before progressing to a bigger role in parliament , what I find demeaning is for candidates (and it applies to all parties ) to be so desperate to become well paid representatives that they will go after any nomination to any forum that will take them eg scottish , westminster , european . The scottish parliament list system allows the mediocre to have a career for life and should be abandoned .

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    kintyre1 July 24, 2010 11:01 pm Reply
  • So its goodbye to all those Tory MSPs. Couldn’t agree more.

    Just the usual jaundiced tabloid type junk otherwise.
    I wonder what calibre of MSP or MP you could expect if you paid them less than senior teachers and a half of what we pay doctors.

    In the final analysis the voters decides who is elected and can throw them out at the next election. It is only the anonymous and inactive Labour MSPs in the central belt safe seats that actually can get away with being lazy. The list system, by giving the elector a choice if he or she is let down by their MSP, to go to another works wonders in keeping most of our MSPs on their toes.
    The really lazy MPs now are the Scottish Westminster MPs mainly from urban seats and the best thing to do is to cut them down in numbers or do away with them altogether.
    The latter is called Independence.

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    Dave McEwan Hill July 24, 2010 11:45 pm Reply
  • You say the electorate can throw them out , but the various systems of pr we now have have made it is very difficult to remove councillors and msps , South Kintyre proved that at the last council elections , had one of the counciillors had their own ward as in the previous system they would have been out .

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    kintyre1 July 25, 2010 9:54 am Reply
  • A perfectly valid point and a complete departure from the usual demented anti-SNP rants one has come to expect from this poster (posters?).
    Can we expect this welcome development to continue?

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    Dave McEwan Hill July 25, 2010 12:13 pm Reply
  • Mike Russell has been an excellent MSP for Dumfries and will be greatly missed, although we appreciate that he is going “home” to an area where he lives. Mike seems to have a talent for grasping local issues, certainly in the South of Scotland, and he is an extremely able and persuasive speaker. I hope that he is selected for the seat because he has shown himself to be tireless and relentless in the move to independence.

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    Alibi July 25, 2010 5:32 pm Reply
  • Oops! I appear to have stumbled on Mike McKenzie’s supporters.

    I’ll leave the five of you to it …………

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    Anne Baird July 25, 2010 6:25 pm Reply
  • Good point,there are a couple of completely useless Councillors that would be history. Freeman, Marshall and McMillan spring to mind. I tend towards disliking the list system as its design stops new blood coming through.
    I dont think MacKenzie has any chance of winning he doesnt appeal to the voters. No-one has really heard of him. Michael Russell on the other hand is very well ken’t and respected. He will draw votes. On analysis Mackenzie may have increased the vote at Westminster election, in reality the previous result in 2005 was so poor you’d expect a cardboard cut out to have improved on that position, after a 3 year campaign thats a very dissappointing performance by anyones standards. If the SNP are to be taken as a serious force at the next election they will have to pick Russell.

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    MacBlear July 25, 2010 7:42 pm Reply
  • What a sorry little post. Just short of 9000 people voted for Mike Mackenzie at the recent Westminster election so I would say a lot of people know him. He achieved the best swing to the SNP in every seat but the Western Isles and due to his efforts Argyll and Bute is now in number eight position in the SNP’s Westminster list (out of 59).
    Indeed he had a poor 2005 result to follow but he also beat the result achieved by the marvelous Sir Neil MacCormick in 2001 in both total votes and percentage of the vote.
    I hope McBlear is not a member of the SNP.
    It is perfectly acceptable to support one candidate or another (and I support Mike Mackenzie as by far the best candidate for the SNP in this seat) but its the absolute pits to attack the honest efforts of another to do so.

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    Dave McEwan Hill July 25, 2010 10:28 pm Reply
  • Totally agreed Dave. Bogus members and negative attacks do us no credit whatsoever.

    I’ll be voting for Michael Russell as by far the best candidate to take and hold the seat, but I expect to rub shoulders with all the same folk I know and love whatever the result. As always, once the contest is over, it’s time to work hard with all hands on board however they voted.

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    Anne Baird July 25, 2010 11:20 pm Reply
  • I fully accept the rather obvious facts that Bill Jardine states about the Clyde Ferry situation. Government is more difficult than opposition but infinitely more worthwhile. Rome was not built in a day but much of the manifesto programme has been accomplished and the process is ongoing. However, when the SNP minority government took over the mantle of administration not only was the ferry cupboard absolutely bare but there were already severe financial constraints upon the budget. Having a pool of spare ferries is something that CalMac very desperately would love as they face the problems associated at present with the breakdown of that splendid workhorse -Clansman.Who was it that said, “Don’t look for the money we have spent it all ?” They might have added that they have left a PFI legacy that our grandchildren will be paying for.

    I see that we have as yet had no constructive “sensible suggestions” about either ferries or forestry from the usual suspects and no comment either about the huge benefits that we are to derive from a privatised Royal Mail. Perhaps I did not mention in my holiday reminiscence that Norway has a well equipped ferry service to service communities spread across a hugely complex coastal strip in the west and that this is supplemented by access for inshore islands by many bridges and tunnels.

    I can assure Bill that many of us have noticed the silence of Alan Reid. Be grateful for small mercies! He has successfully, and not for the first time, sold the electorate a dummy. How he will resolve his situation as a second string Tory MP will be interesting to see. It is a bit like the silence from the Labour Party in Scotland as they slip seamlessly from government to principled opposition without any intervening period of atonement. Former cabinet ministers casually sidestep responsibility for their former actions and climb on the leadership election bandwagon with quite brazen panache, or as another commentator stated, “Sacked for their financial incompetence on one day they come back as blameless auditors with all the answers within the week”

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    Ken MacColl July 26, 2010 10:54 am Reply
  • WELL DONE MIKE FOR GETTING TO THE SCOTTISH PARLIMENT
    ON THE LIST IT WILL BE GOOD TO SEE THE OBAN OFFICE KEPT
    OPEN
    FROM EWAN HAMILTON

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    ewan May 7, 2011 2:30 am Reply

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